December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 For the leader. A maskil of the Korahites.
- O God, we have heard with our own ears; our ancestors have told us The deeds you did in their days, with your own hand in days of old:
- You rooted out nations to plant them, crushed peoples to make room for them.
- Not with their own swords did they conquer the land, nor did their own arms bring victory; It was your right hand, your own arm, the light of your face for you favored them.
- You are my king and my God, who bestows victories on Jacob.
- Through you we batter our foes; through your name, trample our adversaries.
- Not in my bow do I trust, nor does my sword bring me victory.
- You have brought us victory over our enemies, shamed those who hate us.
- In God we have boasted all the day long; your name we will praise forever. Selah
- But now you have rejected and disgraced us; you do not march out with our armies.
- 2 You make us retreat before the foe; those who hate us plunder us at will.
- You hand us over like sheep to be slaughtered, scatter us among the nations.
- You sell your people for nothing; you make no profit from their sale.
- You make us the reproach of our neighbors, the mockery and scorn of those around us.
- You make us a byword among the nations; the peoples shake their heads at us.
- All day long my disgrace is before me; shame has covered my face
- At the sound of those who taunt and revile, at the sight of the spiteful enemy.
- All this has come upon us, though we have not forgotten you, nor been disloyal to your covenant.
- 3 Our hearts have not turned back, nor have our steps strayed from your path.
- 4 Yet you have left us crushed, desolate in a place of jackals; you have covered us with darkness.
- If we had forgotten the name of our God, stretched out our hands to another god,
- Would not God have discovered this, God who knows the secrets of the heart?
- For you we are slain all the day long, considered only as sheep to be slaughtered.
- Awake! Why do you sleep, O Lord? Rise up! Do not reject us forever!
- Why do you hide your face; why forget our pain and misery?
- We are bowed down to the ground; our bodies are pressed to the earth.
- Rise up, help us! Redeem us as your love demands.
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1 [Psalm 44] In this lament the community reminds God of past favors which it has always acknowledged (Psalm 44:2-9). But now God has abandoned Israel to defeat and humiliation (Psalm 44:10-17), though the people are not conscious of any sin against the covenant (Psalm 44:18-23). They struggle with being God's special people amid divine silence; yet they continue to pray (Psalm 44:24-26).
2  You make us retreat: the corollary of Psalm 44:3. Defeat, like victory, is God's doing; neither Israel nor its enemies can claim credit (Psalm 44:23).
3  Our hearts have not turned back: Israel's defeat was not caused by its lack of fidelity.
4  A place of jackals: following Israel's defeat and exile (Psalm 44:11-12), the land lies desolate, inhabited only by jackals. Cf Isaiah 13:22; Jeremiah 9:10; 10:22. Others take tannim as "sea monster" (cf Ezekiel 29:3; 32:2) and render: "you crushed us as you did the sea monster."
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